“Life is like a wheel, sooner or later you come back to where you started.” Stephen King, Author

Hitting the desk again after New Year always feels vaguely like deja vu to me. The desk is clean ready for the new year, the inbox tidy and the world feels very much like it has reset itself. However within minutes it all feels very familiar and it was like you never left!!

Yet here we are, a new year, a fresh start and a big welcome to 2022! I hope your new year brings success and prosperity to your business as we head into a new path and face off the pandemic head on.

Fremantle became quite high profile in the battle against COVID-19 just before Christmas with the media focussed on our neighbours here at the Old Fire Station Backpackers, and a number of member businesses highlighted as exposure sites. New Year festivities were off the agenda for many of our larger hospitality and tourism businesses and resignation set in that although some things have changed, some continue to stay the same.

It is imperative from a reputation perspective that Fremantle continues to be a destination of choice. This includes being safe and welcoming to all visitors, clients and contractors. This means ensuring staff are vaccinated, apps updated and our workplaces are in the best position possible in the lead up to December 4 opening.

We will be exploring health and wellness throughout February. Kicking off with an interesting Set the Month in Motion topic on how we get our businesses in the best shape possible to manage the head on collision coming towards us. Finding ways to think through staff absences, shortages and supply chain should be on all of our agendas. Register for the conversation on 2 February here.

We will be showcasing the incredible array of businesses in Fremantle that have health and wellness at their core in our Inaugural Fremantle Health & Wellness Festival 2022. This idea, arising from our Small Business & Retail Committee, and with strong support from Principal Partner the University of Notre Dame will see a raft of incredible activities from a world record attempt for the largest Salute to the Sun on a beach, a lunchtime expo with stand up paddle boarding, spa massages and running events, a full day managing depression workshop for business and a business after hours focussed on just how lucky we are to do business in this part of the world. All these events will go live on the website in coming weeks. I sincerely thank the University of Notre Dame, Bathers Beach House, Imagined Future’s Alliance Against Depression, Fremantle Markets and all of our health and wellness members for coming on Board for this initiative. If you would like to get involved or register your interest please contact Michelle for further information.

We are working to look at a few pathways projects across the year to find ways to better attract and retain staff in the marine industries, and also our hospitality sector. This is a crucial priority for our local industries and we hope that some of our ideas around At Place at the Table and our Marine Pathways program will get the funding so we can make them fly. Fingers crossed!

We turned such a corner in December with the opening of Walyalup Koort, our new civic heart, FOMO and will even welcome a new IGA to the City later this month. Here at the Chamber we also hit a 10 year record for our Export Desk for the month of December which bodes well for the start to 2022.

It is an exciting time and I really look forward to so many of the goals set across the last few years coming to fruition in 2022.

I look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Danicia

Read more in the Chamber Weekly here.